Q. I am looking for some easy-to-grow vining plants. I have one large black grower’s pot that I can use and a homemade bamboo trellis that fits in the pot. Any suggestions as to what plants would work? – K.S., Albuquerque
A. About the pot … I will suggest that you consider spray painting it white so the soil, and in turn, plant life growing in it isn’t kept too hot. It will absorb quite a bit of extra heat, possibly keeping the soil too warm to make a good environment.
Since the pot needs to drain, you will want to place a shallow layer of pebbles in the bottom to keep the soil in said pot. You could also insert paper coffee filters, just at the drain holes, to keep the soil in, too. That way you’d have more soil, creating a bigger area for the plants to grow. Filling a large pot with potting soil will be an investment. You could fill the bottom third of the pot with less expensive bagged topsoil or garden soil, just make sure to fill the top two thirds with potting soil.
The reasoning is simple. Bagged topsoil and garden soil sometimes contain elements that when concentrated in a pot would be too strong, or “hot,” causing damage to what’s trying to grow in it.
I’m thinking you are looking for blooming vining plants, so the first to come to mind are morning glory plants. These guys are practically foolproof. Nowadays you can find varieties that will offer bloom colors from the classic blue, some with purple flowers, and others wearing lavender, white, rosy pink or scarlet red-purple colors. Some can be striped, too.
Consider adding moonflowers (another variety of morning glory) and get the added benefit of flowers that will tend to open in the early evening and stay open late through the night.
If you choose to fill your large pot with morning glories, soak the seed for a few hours to overnight, making the germination a bit easier.
Another favorite to consider is the scarlet runner bean. These guys are so pretty and it starts with the seed itself. You know how a pinto bean is pale brown with darker brown splotches of color, like a pinto horse? Well, the scarlet runner is usually a cool grey splotched with purple. Again it’s best if you’d soak these seeds a bit before planting. This fast-growing bean twines up anything offered. The vine and leaves, born in clusters of threes, give much-desired color to the landscaping. But it’s the flowers that are marvelous.
From the name scarlet runner, you are offered brilliant scarlet-colored flowers that will be visited by most any self-respecting hummingbird. The flowers are shaped a lot like sweet pea blooms, making them very interesting to look at.
Another benefit from growing scarlet runners will be the fruit. It will set beans that, if harvested when they are young, are quite edible. The older the bean pod, the less palatable.
You could also grow old-fashioned pole beans that offer several different varieties, usually offering lovely bright white flowers, making them a win-win in a large pot offering a trellis.
There are more choices, but for easy and lovely you couldn’t do better than morning glories or scarlet runner beans.
You could even grow them all together for an extremely colorful and fun display.
Happy Diggin In.
Tracey Fitzgibbon is a certified nurseryman. Send garden-related questions to Digging In, Albuquerque Journal, 7777 Jefferson NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109, or to email@example.com.